Book: The Seven Secrets of Slim People by Vikki Hansen, MSW and Shawn Goodman

Vikki Hansen and Shawn Goodman

Admittedly when I read the introduction to THE SEVEN SECRETS OF SLIM PEOPLE and found out that the authors did not have the same type of weight problem which many Americans have but rather were 'survivors' of eating disorders, I was less than impressed.

But as I read on further, I found the book definitely has some merit.  But not in the diet advice (which the authors claim is a NON diet) which reiterates the same tired old advice of "eat until you are full", "listen to your body" etc.). The merit of THE 7 SECRETS OF SLIM PEOPLE is that it may have been the first book for popular reading, in which someone admitted that dieting was a good way to gain weight and cause eating disorders.  The book also points out that dieting is a scam which people, blaming themselves for weight gain go back to again and again.  The following quotes are worth noting:

For example, the book details the devastation diets do to the body (all statements are well documented from medical or scientific studies):

"A diet creates an artificial famine...since you are feeding
it less calories, it compensates by lowering your metabolism
as much as 40 percent."

"You may have normally burned 2000 calories a day.  If you
only allow yourself 1200 calories a day for a while, your
body will start reducing the number of calories it burns to
keep you alive.... If you go back to 2000 calories a day you
used to eat, 800 will be stored as fat until your body
adjusts to the fact that there is now more food and raises
your metabolism back up...THIS ADJUSTMENT MAY TAKE UP TO A
YEAR AFTER ONLY ONE DIET"  (the emphasis is that of the
author's by the way).
A few pages later, the authors state that one man, Bob Schwartz, realized that putting people on a diet was the most effective way to cause underweight individuals to GAIN WEIGHT!

In another place, the authors point out that the current weight goal for women to look like super models is very unreasonable.

"There is only 1 in 40,000 women who has the capability of being a super model", the book states.

I would like to add that 39,999 of the 40,000 think they are that one.

Diets are a SCAM, Hansen and Goodman tell us:

What a fabulous SCAM.  Diets don't work for anyone long
term, but the system of dieting itself never gets blamed.  
You take the blame because 'it worked when I stuck to it'. 
Would you take your car to the same mechanic to have your
transmission repaired, if every 30 days it broke down again
and he BLAMED YOU?  You aren't that gullible.  But with
diets you are!

The diet program offered in SEVEN SECRETS is the usual fare - nothing really new.

The authors maintain that you can eat anything you want but suggest six small meals a day and no more than a fistsize of food at each meal. Not denying yourself a food you really want to eat and stopping the endless dieting will cause the individual to stop binge-ing, the book states. There is some truth to this, however, on only a fistfall of food each meal, you will be quite hungry and it will be REAL hunger and not emotional hunger. That seems a hit or miss (mostly miss) method of getting the right amount of nutrients the body needs daily!

Most of the suggestions in the book will not work for many people. For example, the authors suggest learning to stop eating when you are no longer hungry. Many people genetically can not TELL whether they are hungry or not.

Another drawback to the book is the under emphasis on the importance of exercise, both for health and weight control. The authors suggest at least 12 minutes of exercise daily which is not enough to get a person up to target heart rate and fat burning zone. Most experts suggest 60-90 minutes of aerobic exercise, 5 to 6 times a week.

However, the book is worth reading if only for the excellent statements about dieting and metabolic damage. Unfortunately the authors who have never suffered real obesity themselves, omitted the biggest "secret" of slim people and that is GENETICS!

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